HomeTrending MLB NewsVeteran 1B opting out of deal with Cubs

Veteran 1B opting out of deal with Cubs

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First baseman Dominic Smith is opting out of his minor league deal with the Cubs, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN.

Smith, 29 in June, is primarily a first baseman. The Mets moved him to left field for a while since Pete Alonso took hold of the first base job, but Smith graded poorly out there and eventually moved back to first base with the Nationals last year.

The Cubs are likely going to give a lot of run to Michael Busch at first base this year, after acquiring him from the Dodgers in an offseason trade. They also re-signed Cody Bellinger after Smith signed his minor league pact, further crowding the path to playing time. Bellinger will likely be in the outfield but it’s possible that he winds up at first if Busch falters or if Pete Crow-Armstrong forces his way into the center field job.

Given that situation, it makes sense that Smith would look for opportunities elsewhere. He’s been in great form this spring, having hit .346/.370/.538 thus far, which could perhaps help him market himself to other clubs.

He’s coming off an uninspiring season, his first outside of Queens. He hit just .254/.326/.366 for the Nationals, leading to a wRC+ of 90, his third straight subpar campaign. Interested clubs will be hoping that he can get back to his 2019-20 form, when he hit .299/.366/.571 for a wRC+ of 150.

There is plenty of roster churn going on around baseball today, with several cuts being made and veterans opting out. A game of musical chairs will play out in the coming days as guys look for new clubs and Smith will see if he can wind up somewhere with a decent path to playing time.

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